Posts Tagged ‘athletic injury’

How to Prevent Summer Sports Injuries

Emory Sports Medicine patient Shawn Ploessl is a self proclaimed weekend warrior who sprained his ankle after playing football on the beach with some friends this summer. Many people are like Shawn in that when the weather starts getting nicer, we want to get outside and start working out or playing in a pickup game of baseball or football with friends. The problem is that most of us jump back into outdoor activities after being dormant over the winter and don’t properly warm-up or prepare our bodies for this increased activity.

In a recent news piece by CNN, Amadeus Mason, MD, Emory Sports Medicine physician, gives hints on what you can do to avoid injuries in the summer. Weekend warriors can start preparing themselves for the summer sports season by doing some exercising in the winter and early spring. Some activities that Dr. Mason recommends during the winter are running, indoor strengthening, and indoor cycling or spinning. Watch the entire piece below:

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About Dr. Mason

Dr. Amadeus MasonDr. Mason is an assistant professor in the Orthopaedics and Family Medicine departments at Emory University. He is board certified in Sports Medicine with a special interest in track and field, running injuries and exercise testing. He has been trained in diagnostic musculoskeletal ultrasound, orthopedic stem cell therapy and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy. Dr. Mason is Team Physician for USA Track & Field, Tucker High School, and Georgia Tech Track and Field.

Dr. Mason is a member of the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, the America Road Racing Medical Society, and the USA Track and Field Sports Medicine and Science Committee. He has been invited to be a resident physician at the US Olympic Training Center, a Sports Medicine consultant in his homeland of Jamaica and the Chief Medical Officer at multiple USA Track and Field international competitions. He is an annual speaker at the pre-race expo for PTRR, Publix marathon and Atlanta marathon commenting on a wide variety of topics related to athletics and running injuries.

Dr. Mason is an active member of the Atlanta running community. He attended Princeton University and was Captain of the track team. His other sports interests include soccer, college basketball and football, and the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). A Decatur resident, he is married with three children.

6 Tips for an Injury-Free Transition from Indoor to Outdoor Sports

Outdoor Sports TransitionWarm weather is right around the corner and athletes of all ages will be out in force tearing it up on the athletic fields playing the games they love! Injury prevention during the seasonal sports transition is key. It is important to take care of your body and follow certain precautions as athletes transition from winter to spring sports. This is especially important for the young athletes. Outdoor elements such as soggy, muddy field conditions or bad weather, can negatively affect young athletes. Many times young athletes don’t have as much opportunity to train in an environment similar to which they will be playing in during their season. This can greatly increase the risk of athletic injury.

Below is a list of suggestions to help athletes adjust and prepare for the transition from indoor to outside venues and prevent injuries in the process!

All outdoor and field sport athletes should know:

  1. Stretching is extremely important in all sports. Typically, you should hold stretches for 30 seconds! Do some 20 – 30 yard runs, starting out slower and ending up at full speed to loosen the muscles up.
  2. Make sure your cleats are “broken in.” W e highly recommend that the young athlete begin wearing cleats outside on the field surface which they will be playing before the season starts. This will help ensure the cleats fit well and feel comfortable on the playing surface during practice and games.
  3. Arrive to the field early on game day and allow your body to adjust to the outside temperature.
  4. If you are able to arrive early, take a few minutes to walk the field to assess for soft or uneven spots in the field. If it has rained, scout the field for standing water puddles. This is especially important if you haven’t ever practiced or played on the field.
  5. Keep your muscles warm as long as possible before the game. Keep your warm-up gear on til the last second. You can also wear thermal type clothing like Under Armour under your uniform if you are playing in cold temperatures.
  6. Do not let muscles get cool during the game. If you are not playing, stand and keep moving as much as possible.

Spring sports are exciting for the athletes and for all the spectators! We want to help you make sure you stay healthy so you can enjoy them from the field!

About Dr. Brandon Mines

Brandon Mines, MDBrandon Mines, MD, is an assistant professor of orthopaedics. Dr. Mines started practicing at Emory in 2005 after completing his Sports Medicine Fellowship at University of California – Los Angeles. Dr. Mines is board certified in both family practice and sports medicine. He has focused his clinical interest on sports injuries and conditions of the shoulder, elbow, wrist/hand, knee, foot and ankle. He is head team physician for the Women’s National Basketball Association’s (WNBA) Atlanta Dream.

Dr. Mines is a rotational physician for United States soccer teams and a consulting physician for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons along with various local high schools, colleges, and community club teams. He enjoys giving talks and lectures regarding the prevention of sports injuries. In fact, as an active member of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and the American Society for Sports Medicine, Dr. Mines has attended and presented at various national conferences. Through the years, he has helped all levels of athletes return to the top of their game.

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5 Tips to Make a Healthy Transition from Fall to Winter Sports

Transitioning from Fall to Winter SportsIf you think the holidays are a busy season you should trade places with a high school athlete who is juggling their studies, family life, and multiple competitive sports.   The transition from fall to winter sports can be overwhelming. For many high school athletes they play a fall sport such as football and then transition right into the next sport during the winter season.  These athletes are showcasing their versatile athletic abilities as well as learning valuable life skills such as time-management skills, discipline and commitment.

Even though many young athletes think they are invincible, it is important to prepare them and their growing bodies for the rigors of changing sports and using new muscles in order to prevent injuries.

As a physician at Emory Sports Medicine, I recommend the following:

  1. Take a short mental break for a few days to ensure your mind is ready to begin the rigors of a new sport and intense practice sessions.  Many injuries occur when a student athlete is being careless and not following the coaches instructions.
  2. Build a strong cardiovascular base by running, biking or doing other cardio exercises at least 2 times a week year round. The amount of cardio workouts you need to do is dependent upon the sport you play.
  3. Build Core Strength by doing some simple core exercises such as crunches and planks.
  4. Make sure the athlete has the proper footwear for the sport.  Transitioning from football cleats to basketball shoes can be a big adjustment.  The transition in surface (outdoor grass to wood floor) can in some cases lead to shin splints.  Proper shoes along with stretching can help prevent this from happening.
  5. Maintain proper nutrition all year round – in-season as well as off-season..  Although having a balanced diet is most important, all young athletes should make sure to eat a size appropriate amount of complex carbohydrates when participating in cardio intense sports. Doing so will ensure enough energy is present during the times when they are most needed!

Ensure your young athlete is ready to hit the ground running in winter sports by sharing these words of wisdom with them!

About Brandon Mines, MD

Brandon Mines, MD

Brandon Mines, MD, is an assistant professor of orthopaedics. Dr. Mines started practicing at Emory in 2005 after completing his Sports Medicine Fellowship at University of California – Los Angeles. Dr. Mines is board certified in both family practice and sports medicine. He has focused his clinical interest on sports injuries and conditions of the shoulder, elbow, wrist/hand, knee, foot and ankle. He is head team physician for the Women’s National Basketball Association’s (WNBA) Atlanta Dream and Decatur High School. He is also one of the team physicians for the Atlanta Falcons.  His areas of interest are diagnosis and non-operative management of acute sports injuries, basketball injuries, tennis injuries, golf injuries and joint injections.

Athletic Injuries: Young Athletes Play Through the Pain

Athletic Injury Young AthletesA new study shows that many young athletes keep on playing after they’ve been injured. And all too often, those injuries could have been prevented. Safe Kids Worldwide, a global nonprofit organization with a mission of preventing unintentional childhood injury, found that kids are suffering from overuse injuries, dehydration, and even head injuries.

Kids are under pressure to play at a much higher level and with more intensity than they did decades ago. A pitcher who shows potential may play on two or three different teams during a single season. And Safe Kids found there’s a lot of pressure to stay in the game—even when you’re hurt.

A new Safe Kids study shows a third of young athletes who play team sports suffer injuries severe enough to require medical treatment. But nearly 90% of parents underestimate how much time kids need to recover.

As a result, Emory pediatric orthopedic surgeon Dr. Nicholas Fletcher says, a lot of kids play hurt.

“Kids think if they take a week off, they’ll get kicked off the team, or their parents won’t let them play anymore. It’s very important for the kid to stay on the team, so a lot of times they’ll mask the injury,” says Dr. Fletcher.

Safe Kids found that half of the coaches said they’d felt pressure—either from kids or parents—to put an injured child back in the game. And nearly a third of kids said they would play hurt unless their coach made them stop.

“One of the biggest take-home messages I try to convey to coaches is that this 11-year-old also has a 12-year-old and a 13-year-old and a 14-year-old season,” says Dr. Fletcher, who sees a lot of young players with ACL tears, hip injuries, and throwing injuries. Many of those problems are from overuse. He says if a young athlete is not given time to heal and given proper treatment, he or she can be left with lifelong problems.

Has your son or daughter suffered a sports injury and kept on playing? We welcome your questions and feedback in the comments section below.

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Emory Sports Medicine Puts Former Falcons Player Back in the Game After Jones Fracture

Atlanta Falcons Jones Fracture Sports MedicineA couple of years ago, a young recruit of the Atlanta Falcons football team was running during practice when his cleat got caught in the turf, a misstep that led to him both twisting and breaking his foot. The injury turned out to be what’s known as a “Jones fracture,” which is a very specific break in one of the bones in the midportion of the foot.

The Falcons recruit went out of state for surgery to insert a screw in his foot that would secure the bone while it healed, but his injury never healed properly, and on the first day of football practice the next year, he rebroke his foot. This time, he decided to find a surgeon in the Atlanta area and was referred to Dr. Sam Labib, director of the foot and ankle service at the Emory Sports Medicine Center.

During his time practicing at Emory, Dr. Labib has become very familiar with the Jones fracture. “As it turned out, at Emory, we had done extensive anatomic research on this particular type of injury and knew the ideal location for the screw,” he says. “When he came in for surgery, we removed the screw, cleaned up the bone, and replaced the screw in a better, more stable area.”

“Because we are a research environment as well as a surgical practice, we have a wealth of information and experience to bring to bear on injuries such as the Jones fracture,” Dr. Labib says. “Doing anatomic research is like drawing a map for surgery. With practice, we can effectively calculate the path of the screw and place it in the most solid position. Our patients benefit from this research and expertise.”

According to Dr. Labib, a Jones fracture typically takes a minimum of three months to heal. In the football player’s case, the fracture healed beautifully after his surgery at Emory, and he was back to training just three months later.

Have you had foot surgery, or would you like to learn more about foot surgery at Emory? We welcome your questions and feedback for Dr. Labib in the comments section below.

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Using Biomechanics & Motion Analysis to Enhance Athletic Performance & Reduce Injuries

For those people who participate in competitive sports, athletic injury and related pain are not uncommon. Even without being an athlete yourself, you’re likely no stranger to some of the worst injuries that have been sustained by professional athletes. Mary Pierce and her torn ACL, Willis McGahee’s broken leg post-collision on the field, or Tony Saunder’s (Devil Rays’ pitcher) breaking his arm while throwing a pitch are just a few noteworthy examples. More recently, we saw Peyton Manning sidelined with a neck injury that kept him from participating in this year’s NFL season.

It is injuries like these and research being conducted in the world of biomechanics that is helping today’s athletes make strides in improving their form and physical durability.

Research and evaluation into biomechanics has resulted in new technology that allows experts to capture the movements of an athlete and analyze those movements via specialized software. The takeaways from the analysis are used to help educate and train athletes to move in the most effective and efficient ways to reduce injury and maximize outcomes. While much of this technology is emerging from colleges and universities around the U.S. and in turn, helping keep college athletes operating at peak performance, the same technology is also being used by professional athletes and their trainers.

As Jeff Fish, director of athletic performance for the Atlanta Falcons explains in a recent article covering biomechanics, “You have to look at the movement. It’s so much bigger than just is this player strong, is this player fast.” And with the help of Emory’s Dr. Spero G. Karas, head team physician for the Falcons, the team has one of the lowest injury rates in the NFL.

To help keep injury rates low and enhance performance among the Falcons, a fairly scientific process is in place. More than once a year, each player from the Falcons goes through “functional movement screening,” during which their strengths and weaknesses from a biomechanical movement standpoint are evaluated and they are each given a healthy motion score. After each player’s risk factors are evaluated, a customized plan is developed for each of them. Plan success is determined based on changes in the healthy motion score gleaned from the functional movement screenings.

Dr. Spero Karas

Dr. Spero Karas

Furthermore, now when a Falcons player is injured, that healthy motion score provides a baseline for team physicians such as Dr. Spero Karas to use to measure improvement in the athlete’s range of motion after injury and rehabilitation.

As Dr. Karas explains, “I can use that objective data that was generated before the athlete was injured to help me evaluate the athlete at the time of return to play.”

These are some pretty amazing developments for the athletic and medical worlds. For years, we’ve seen players watch their own game footage/tapes for insight into how they can better execute each play on the field. Now, with the help of biomechanics, functional movement screenings, and experts such as Dr. Spero Karas, those same players can learn how to fine tune their movements before taking the field to ensure the outcomes once there are the best they can be.

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What is a Biomechnical Injury?

Dr. Amadeus Mason of Emory Sports Medicine explains biomechanical injuries and how they can be prevented and treated.

Biomechanical Injury

In sports medicine, we see a lot of biomechanical injuries. A biomechanical injury is caused by the overuse or incorrect use of a joint or muscle. This type of injury generally occurs when the joint has been stressed in the wrong way or overstressed repetitively over a short period of time. While any joint can sustain a biomechanical injury, at the Emory Sports Medicine Center, I see a lot of runners who come in complaining of knee pain.

Iliotibial band syndrome, or ITBS, is a biomechanical injury. It usually presents as pain on the outer side of the knee and is a common complaint among middle-distance runners or in athletes when they try to do too much running too quickly. This usually occurs early in the season or when athletes increase the intensity of their training, e.g., moving up from 5K to 10K distance.

To prevent a biomechanical injury, no matter where in the body it is, you need to be cognizant of how you’re stressing your joints and give your body enough time to accommodate the increased stress. If you’re a runner, start slow with low mileage (1–2 miles) and a moderate pace and slowly increase distance or intensity, but not both. If you’re lifting, start with a lighter amount of weight and a higher number of reps in each set and then, as you increase the weight, decrease the number of reps per set.

If you think you might have a biomechanical injury, you should be evaluated by a sports medicine specialist who understands biomechanical injuries. He or she can correctly determine the source of your pain and initiate the appropriate interventions so you can get better. If you’re in pain but not sure what type of injury you have, don’t take chances—come see a specialist here at the Emory Sports Medicine Center.

Things to Keep in Mind if You Have (Or Suspect You Have) a Biomechanical Injury:

  • This type of injury will not just “heal on its own” with rest. You need to address the cause of the pain, or the symptoms will come back when you return to whatever activity caused the pain in the first place.
  • Don’t push through the pain. This pain is telling you that you’re doing something wrong. This is not a no-pain, no-gain situation.
  • There’s no quick fix. There’s no pill or quick shot that can cure a biomechanical injury. The best approach is to correct the problem using a holistic approach, which may include therapy, medications, modalities, and injections (as needed). Physiotherapy, in conjunction with steroid injections or platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections, can help reduce inflammation and, in turn, alleviate pain and facilitate addressing the underlying biomechanical issues. This is why it’s important to seek the help of someone who understands this type of injury.

Have you had a biomechanical injury? We’d like to hear about your experience. Please take a moment to give us feedback in the comments section below.

Dr. Amadeus MasonAbout R. Amadeus Mason, MD:

R. Amadeus Mason, MD, is an assistant professor in the Orthopaedics and Family Medicine departments at Emory University. He is board certified in Sports Medicine with a special interest in track and field, running injuries and exercise testing. He has been trained in diagnostic musculoskeletal ultrasound and platelet rich plasma (PRP) injection. Dr. Mason is Team Physician for USA Track and Field and the National Scholastic Sports Foundation Tucker High School, and Georgia Tech Track and Field.

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Female High School Soccer Players 64% More Likely to Suffer from Concussions Than Males

Female athletes concussion riskShe’s only 16, but she’s already been playing soccer for over a decade. In that time, Alex Anne Matthews, a junior at the Lovett School in the Buckhead area of Atlanta, has broken several bones and sustained two concussions. Unfortunately, according to a new study, the injuries Alex has sustained over her currently 12-year-long soccer career are not only common, but more common for female high school soccer players than males.

During a soccer game on September 4th of this year, Alex hit the ground with force. “She came up from behind me and slide-tackled my feet out from under me, and I landed on my side, and the first thing to hit the ground was my head,” she recalls. Alex’s parents looked on as it happened, and as her mother, Anne Matthews puts it, “Alex Anne got up like she always does and staggered a little to her right. And Chip and I looked at each other and went, ‘that doesn’t look good.”

Despite a noticeable headache, Alex charged on and played in a second soccer game that same afternoon, but it wasn’t too long before routine concussion symptoms: nausea, dizziness, and blurred vision set in. According to Dr. Kenneth Mautner of Emory Sports Medicine, “There’s actually sheering forces that occur inside the brain, and the brain literally gets shaken inside the skull.”

But, according to a new study, it’s much more common (64% more common, in fact)  for female high school soccer players such as Alex  to sustain concussions than it is for males playing the same sport. So what makes concussions more common for female soccer players? Dr. Mautner says it could be a few things.

“Something just as simple as girls report concussions more because they’re more likely to say when they’re hurt and not feeling well,” according to Mautner, could be one reason. There is also evidence to show that stronger neck muscles in men and their ability to absorb shock more effectively may lower their concussion risk, or that hormones may make female athletes more susceptible to sustaining an injury.

Female athletes may also take longer to recover from concussions. For both men and women, however, Dr. Mautner emphasizes the importance of not returning to the field too soon. “There’s no one test to say you’re ready or you’re not ready, so we see how their symptoms are. They need to be completely asymptomatic at rest, they need to be asymptomatic with exertion.”

The findings of the study are not intended to alarm parents or child athletes, but rather, to help raise awareness around concussion symptoms and the importance of taking heed to them when they present themselves. Nausea, headaches, confusion, drowsiness, sensitivity to noise and dizziness are a few of the most common concussion symptoms.

Thankfully for Alex, six weeks after sustaining her most recent concussion, she is back on the field and pursuing her next goal, to play soccer in college. We’ll be keeping an eye out for her on ESPN in the coming years.

For more information on Dr. Mautner or Emory Sports Medicine, visit: www.emoryhealthcare.org/sports-medicine

Not Just on the Sidelines: Emory Sports Medicine Doctors Work with the Atlanta Falcons On & Off the Field

Dr. Spero Karas Atlanta Falcons Team Doctor

Source: Atlanta Falcons Website

The Atlanta Falcons recently contracted Emory Sports Medicine physicians to help manage the team’s sports medicine needs. I am honored to now serve as the Falcons’ head team physician; my colleague, Dr. Jeff Webb, is the assistant team physician. Now that football season is finally upon us, we’re staying busy!

We’re excited to be bringing expert care to the Falcons in a three-prong approach that includes:

  • Athletic performance improvement – strength training and conditioning, biomechanical corrections, and injury prevention through corrective exercises and through training that improves flexibility, flexibility, posture, gait, and overall core strength and strength and balance.
  • Athletic training – the care and prevention of injuries through treatment, taping and orthotics, bracing, heat, ultrasound, muscle stimulation and similar methods.
  • Sports medicine – surgical and medical care of injuries and illnesses

As head team physician, I direct the sports medicine prong, working closely with Dr. Webb and drawing on all the resources of Emory Sports Medicine and Emory Healthcare so that, whatever the problem, I can rely on the finest specialists in the field. The Falcons play really hard and end up with many interesting injuries and illnesses. It’s my job to make sure that the Falcons are wrapped in a complete blanket of world-class care. Emory Sports Medicine offers comprehensive services and renowned experts who can cater to the needs of each player and his specific injury.

As you can see, our work will extend far beyond the sidelines of the games, but Dr. Webb and I will also be there on the sidelines for every game, assessing injuries, and providing care.

I’m really looking forward to being at the games with the Falcons, though it does require me to separate the football fan in me from the physician, taking a more analytic approach to the game. When the Falcons score a touchdown, I’ll be focused not on the elation of the moment or the guy who brought it into the end zone, but on all eleven guys who just contributed to that score. I’ll make sure they’re properly hydrated and that there are no issues arising from their ongoing injuries. I have to be more aware of the medical situation rather than getting too caught up in the excitement of the game.

I’m very proud to be the Falcons’ head team physician, but ultimately my job is to provide the best, most competent care in order to insure the health and safety of each athlete. I’ll save my own celebrating for later, when the job is done.

See how Dr. Karas and the team at Emory Sports Medicine is working with the Atlanta Falcons in this short video, “Meeting the New Team Physician,” on the Atlanta Falcons website.

About Dr. Spero Karas

Dr. Karas is the Director of the Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Fellowship Program and an Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Emory University. His specialties include sports medicine, surgery of the shoulder and knee, and arthroscopic surgery. He is Board Certified in Orthopaedic Surgery, with a subspecialty certification in Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. He currently serves as team physician for the Atlanta Falcons, Georgia Tech Baseball and Lakeside High School, as well as a consulting team physician for Emory University, Ogelthorpe University, Perimeter College, Oglethorpe University, Perimeter College, and Georgia Tech athletics. He cares for patients and athletes of all levels: professional, collegiate, scholastic, and recreational.